Age of Empires III

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games

This page is for the original release. For the Definitive Edition, see Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition.

Key points

Previously known as Age of Empires III: Complete Collection on Steam, but was renamed on Steam to Age of Empires III (2007) on October 15, 2020 due to the release of the Definitive Edition.
Age of Empires III
Age of Empires III cover
Ensemble Studios
The Asian Dynasties Big Huge Games
macOS (OS X) Westlake Interactive
Microsoft Game Studios
OS X MacSoft
Release dates
Windows October 18, 2005
macOS (OS X) September 29, 2006
Monetization Expansion pack
Modes Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives Bird's-eye view
Controls Multiple select, Point and select
Genres RTS
Themes Asia, North America, South America
Series Age of Empires
Age of Empires III guide on StrategyWiki
Age of Empires III on MobyGames
Age of Empires III on Wikipedia
Age of Empires 1997
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings 1999
Age of Mythology 2002
Age of Empires III 2005
Age of Empires Online 2011
Age of Empires II (2013) 2013
Age of Mythology: Extended Edition 2014
Age of Empires: Castle Siege 2014
Age of Empires: Definitive Edition 2018
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition 2019
Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition 2020
Age of Empires IV 2021


The macOS (OS X) version of this game does not work on macOS Catalina (version 10.15) or later due to the removal of support for 32-bit-only apps.

General information

Official website for the series
Official Discord server for the series
Age of Empires III Site; Download for Trial Version available
Age of Empires Wikia
AgeCommunity Large file database with lots of custom content File database with many game replays
Steam Community Discussions


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
CD key
SmarteSECURE DRM - removed in latest Windows patches (1.14/1.06/1.03). Only way to purchase game and expansions individually.
macOS (OS X)
Icon overlay.png
Non-Steam version also available.
Humble Store
Icon overlay.png
Complete Collection.
DRM-free after installation through Steam client (notes may include more details)
Complete Collection. Game does not require Steam to run.[1]
Online features require an Ensemble Studios Online (ESO) Account (registered in-game).
Steam DRM check is only on first launch, the game can be run in DRM-free mode afterwards by launching it from the age3y.exe executable.
Retail CD keys for the Complete Edition can be activated on Steam (US version only).[2]

Version differences[edit]

Age of Empires III: Gold Edition is includes the base game and The War Chiefs expansion pack.
Age of Empires III: Complete Collection is includes the base game and both expansion packs. It is the only digital release.

DLC and expansion packs

Name Notes
The WarChiefs Added 8 maps, 3 civilizations, 2 plot acts, warchief units, revolutions and stealth.
macOS (OS X)
The Asian Dynasties Added 3 Asian Civilizations, each one with a campaign, wonder and the new export resource. As well as 6 new native civilizations.
macOS (OS X)

Essential improvements[edit]

Skip intro videos[edit]

Use the +noIntroCinematics command line argument[citation needed]


The patches linked below will download and install much faster than the in-game updater, and more reliably.

Game data[edit]

In-game general settings.
In-game general settings.
In-game UI settings. The "Enable IME" option under "Regional" is not shown.
In-game UI settings. The "Enable IME" option under "Regional" is not shown.

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\Users\
macOS (OS X) ~/Documents/Age of Empires III/Users/
Steam Play (Linux) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/105450/pfx/[Note 1]

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\Savegame\
macOS (OS X) ~/Documents/Age of Empires III/Savegame/
Steam Play (Linux) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/105450/pfx/[Note 1]

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
Steam Cloud
Homecities can be saved on the official ESO multiplayer platform (effectively in a cloud).


In-game video settings (1/2).
In-game video settings (1/2).
In-game video settings (2/2).
In-game video settings (2/2).

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
HUD is partially stretched.[3]
4K Ultra HD
Some in-game texts becomes small.
Field of view (FOV)
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Game has no borders at max resolution when in windowed mode.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Vertical sync (Vsync)
60 FPS and 120+ FPS


In-game key map settings.
In-game key map settings.

Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
For scroll speed.
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller support
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.


In-game audio settings.
In-game audio settings.

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Stereo only.[4]
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Only Retail version officially supported, except "The Asian Dynasties". A fan translation by kds link #1 (for base game), link #2 (videos), link #3 (for warchiefs expansion), link #4 (Complete Edition)
Brazilian Portuguese
Retail only.


Online features require an ESO Account (registered in-game).

Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
LAN play
Online play

Connection types

Type Native Notes
For matchmaking and game lobby only, gameplay remains on peer-to-peer basis.
Direct IP
Enter in-game or use OverrideAddress= and hostPort= parameters.[5]


Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP 80, 2300
UDP 2300-2310
This game supports Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) for automatic port configuration.

VR support[edit]

3D modes Native Notes
User created game profile (Age of Empires 3 Complete) , see vorpx forum profile introduction.

Issues fixed[edit]

ESO servers inaccessible[edit]

Apply the official ESO patch

As of 1 September 2021, Microsoft no longer owns the domain. To make sure the multiplayer mode of Age of Empires III points to a backend that is under their control, they have released a patch (mainly meant for the Steam release). Download from the official website

Failed to Join[edit]


This is the most common error suffered with Age of Empires III multiplayer. This error can be caused by many problems, and consequently, there are many methods to try to repair it. After each numbered step, attempt connecting to several games in multiplayer; only proceed to the next if you are still experiencing issues.

1. Allow Ensemble Studios Online more time to load.

(This solution needs done every time you log in -- you might further try more steps if you wish to not have to wait every time.)

1.) Log in to ESO.
2.) Stay on the home page and wait about 10 minutes. Do not whisper to friends, check clan, or go to any other tab.
3.) After 10 minutes the problem may now be fixed. You can now leave the Home Page.
4.) Repeat this every time you log in.

2. Try power cycling your network hardware.
1.) Turn off your modem, router, and PC.
2.) Wait a few minutes.
3.) Turn them back on in the listed order. 
3. Ensure Age of Empires III and its expansions (age3.exe, age3x.exe, age3y.exe) are listed on your firewall's exception lists; try playing with the firewall in Gaming Mode, Low, and Off.
4. If you connect to the internet wirelessly, try a wired connection.
5. Toggle UPnP on or off.
1.) Connect to your router in your browser; usually, this is done by typing into your address bar. If that IP does not connect to your router, see your router's manual or try Googling your router brand and model.
2.) Your router will prompt for your username and password. Often, this is "admin" and "admin" or "admin" and "password". See your router's manual or try Googling your router brand and model with "default password" if those don't work.
3.) Find and Toggle On or Off (set it to whatever it wasn't before) UPnP. You may have to search around for this setting, or consult your manual. My router has it in Advanced: Advanced Setup: UPnP. 
6. Try Port Forwarding UDP and TCP ports 80, 2300-2310 to your device.
1.) Identify your router brand and model.
2.) Go to and select your router brand and model, and click search.
3.) Select Age of Empires III and follow the steps given. 
4.) You can use a site like CanYouSeeMe to ensure you have correctly opened the ports. CanYouSeeMe will only see a port if there is a server currently running on it -- a barebones server I made can be downloaded here: Unzip, run the .exe, and enter the desired test port.
7. Try Port Forwarding UDP and TCP 80, 2300-2340 to your device. Note the larger range of ports than step #6.
8. Override the Port to 2300. Use the parameter OverridePort="2300".
9. Override the game to use the correct IP address. Use the OverrideAddress= parameter with your IP address.
10. Try setting the DMZ on your router on.

Game Crashes on Startup/Doesn't Start[edit]


An error that usually occurs on Windows 7. After each numbered step, attempt running the game; only proceed to the next if you are still experiencing issues.

1. Ensure the game is Running as Administrator.
1.) Right click on your desktop icon, and select "Properties".
2.) Go to the compatibility tab and select "Run this program as administrator", and select "OK".
2. Try running the game in compatibility mode.
1.) Right click on your desktop icon, and select "Properties".
2.) Go to the compatibility tab and select "Run this program in compatibility mode for:". Try all the OS options in the list. Oddly, some users report "Windows Vista (SP2)" option repairing it.

"MSXML4.0 is not installed correctly" on startup[edit]

For this issue, see instructions here.

Account Support[edit]

Problems with ESO Accounts should be first solved with the Account Management Tool on the official site.

If you have further problems that cannot be solved with that tool, create a Support Ticket. Be sure to include your Product ID.

Finding your Product ID[citation needed]
  1. Start the Vanilla game (not one of the expansions; launch Age of Empires III).
  2. Go to Help and Tools -> About.
  3. You'll find your Product Key near the bottom in this format: XXXXX-XXX-XXXXXXX-XXXXX

Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9
OpenGL 2 OS X only.
Shader Model support 3
ExecutablePPC 32-bit 64-bit Notes
macOS (OS X)
32-bit only.


Middleware Notes
Audio DirectSound [2]
Cutscenes Bink Video
Multiplayer Ensemble Studios Online (ESO)

System requirements[edit]

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) XP
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 4 1.4 GHz
System memory (RAM) 256 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 4 GB
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce FX 5500
ATI Radeon X300 series
64 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0c compatible
Windows 98SE, ME, and 2000 have found to work with the game with few issues, but they are not officially supported.
macOS (OS X)
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 10.3.9
Processor (CPU) IBM PowerPC G4/G5 1.4 GHz
Intel 1.4 GHz
System memory (RAM) 512 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 2 GB
Video card (GPU) 64 MB of VRAM


  1. 1.0 1.1 File/folder structure within this directory reflects the path(s) listed for Windows and/or Steam game data (use Wine regedit to access Windows registry paths). Games with Steam Cloud support may store data in ~/.steam/steam/userdata/<user-id>/105450/ in addition to or instead of this directory. The app ID (105450) may differ in some cases. Treat backslashes as forward slashes. See the glossary page for details.